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Work Zone Safety

  • When approaching a work zone, motorists should follow all signs, adjust their speed, and move into open space when directed by crews or signs. The key to merging safely in a work zone is courtesy and patience. Merging is easier and safer when drivers act in a courteous manner and work together. Drivers who block other vehicles from merging create unsafe conditions and longer delays.

  • As soon as you see the “Work Zone Begins” sign, you should start planning ahead. Follow all signs and start looking for a safe space between vehicles in the open lane and merge (don’t forget the blinker) into that space in a smooth manner. When to merge will also depend on the traffic volumes and type of work zone. The key to work zone merging is planning.

  • Don’t panic, remain calm! If possible, steer your vehicle to the shoulder or a ramp and call 911. If not, turn on the vehicle flashing hazard lights and call 911. Always remain in your vehicle until help arrives. This is the safest place for you, workers, and other motorists.  

  • Many work zone operations are mobile and constantly moving ahead or from one location to another. To be efficient, crews try to expedite the work using specialized equipment that improves work production. Chances are the workers you see are part of a larger crew operating other vehicles. In many cases it takes as many as three additional vehicles to perform the traffic control that allows the main work operation to proceed.

  • In many cases it is not feasible or safe to conduct work operations within the limits of a single lane. Maintaining traffic directly adjacent to a work operation, separated only by a lane stripe, is extremely dangerous for both drivers and workers. Keep in mind the number of lanes open/closed depends on the type and length of work. Our practice is to close the minimum number of lanes to perform work safely and effectively, as well as keeping traffic impacts/delays to a minimum. 

  • It is a challenge to balance the increasing need to repair/rebuild roads and bridges while ensuring mobility and safety. A full road closures is one tool road agencies have that can help achieve this balance. Full road closures have the potential to expedite project completion, reduce impacts of construction and work zone crashes, and, most importantly, improve safety for workers and motorists. 

  • Yes! The reduced speed limit in a work zone is for the safety of workers and motorists. Even if you don’t see workers, there may be shoulder drop-offs, uneven pavement, road cutouts, bridge work, or new concrete/asphalt. All posted speed limits within a work zone are the legal and enforceable speed limits. Remember, in Michigan, fines are doubled for speeding in a work zone, so slow down. 

  • There are many types of work that are not always visible to the motoring public. Activity like surveying, bridge repairs/inspections, utility relocation, and preliminary work are just a few examples. Remember, work zones are in place to ensure the safety of workers and motorists. If you see orange barrels, it’s a work zone, so slow down and pay attention!